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CHIZUK-----battling the yetzer

Star Posted - 06 December 2000 19:59

Sometimes, I'm doing something wrong, and I KNOW it, but I just don't want to stop. For example, I used to talk to guys online. I stopped and I hope I have the courage not to start again because I once almost got in such trouble-(oh that's another story!)

While I was talking to a guy, I knew it couldn't be right but I was having fun so I just kept on talking. Same thing with loshon hora. if I know it is terrible to say loshon hora then why isn't that motivation enough to stop me from saying it? How can I be motivated to be the best I can be?

MODERATOR Posted - 06 December 2000 20:14

The Yismach Moshe asks how anyone can do an aveirah knowing the dire consequences of his actions. His answer is that Chazal say "ain odom choteh ela im kein nichnas bo ruach shtus" meaning a person does not sin until a spirit of craziness takes him over.

In other words, hashem always balances the Yetzer Tov with the Yetzer Horah such that resisting sin will be a struggle.

And thank G-d for that because that struggle is what makes us good Jews. If it wouldn't be hard it wouldn't be worth anything.

What you are experiencing is normal, and applies to all of us. Motivation isn't what you need, you have that. What you need is the knowledge that you're not going to win every battle with the Yetzer Horah and that you are not expected to. And that if you lose a battle it means nothing except that the next time you're going to try again and then hopefully win.

Even if you know it's wrong and you do it anyway, that's the normal Yetzer Horah vs. Yetzer Tov lifestyle.

The way to grow is to keep trying. Every time. Seriously. And - this is extremely important - to realize that just because you lost the battle today does NOT mean you're going to lose tomorrow.

It's like a world series. You lose the first game, it does NOT mean you're going to lose tomorrow. But if you let it get you discouraged you'll be in trouble.

You need to understand that Hashem made the world that you will win some and lose some. There's nothing you can do about that. That's life. What you have to do is to realize that every day is a new game.

Q1 Posted - 06 December 2000 20:44

I saw a story recently which I think sorta relates to your question.

Rabbi Sholom Schwadron had noticed that one of the students at the yeshiva was missing on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday morning he approached him, inquiring to the reason he missed those two days.

"I know you for two years. You never missed a day of yeshiva. I am sure that something important is happening. Please tell me what's going on." The boy did not want to say, but after prodding, the boy finally blurted out. "I would tell, but, Rebbe, you just wouldn't understand."

"Try me," begged Reb Sholom, "I promise I will try my hardest to appreciate what you tell me."

"Here goes," responded the student, conceding to himself that whatever explanation he would give would surely be incomprehensible to the Rabbi, who had probably had never seen a soccer ball in his life.

"I missed yeshiva because I was at the Maccabi Tel Aviv football (soccer) finals. In fact," the boy added in embarrassment, "I probably won't be in yeshiva tomorrow as well. It's the final day of the championship."

Rabbi Schwadron was not at all condescending. Instead, he furred his brow in interest. "I am sure that this game of football must be quite exciting. Tell me," he asked, " How do you play this game of football? What is the object? How do you win?"

"Well," began the student filled with enthusiasm, "there are eleven players, and the object is to kick a ball into the large goal. No one but the goalkeeper can move the ball with his hands or arms!"

Rabbi Schwadron's face brightened! He knew this young boy was a good student and wanted to accommodate him. "Oh! Is that all? So just go there, kick the ball in the goal, and come back to yeshiva!"

The boy laughed. "Rebbe, you don't understand! The opposing team also has eleven men and a goalkeeper, and their job is to stop our team from getting the ball into their goal!"

"Tell me," Rabbi Schwadron whispered. These other men the other team. Are they there all day and night?" "Of course not!" laughed the student. "They go home at night!"

What was the Rabbi driving at? He wondered.

Rabbi Schwadron huddled close and in all earnest continued with his brilliant plan. "Why don't you sneak into the stadium in the evening and kick the ball into the goal when they are not looking! Then you can win and return to yeshiva!"

The boy threw his hands up in frustration. "Oy! Rebbe! You don't understand. You don't score if the other team is not trying to stop you! It is no kuntz to kick a ball into an empty net if there is no one trying to stop you!"

"Ah!" cried Reb Sholom in absolute victory. Now think a moment! Listen to what you just said! It is no kuntz to come to the yeshiva when nothing is trying to hold you back! It is when the urge to skip class is there, when the Yetzer Harah is crouching in the goal, that it is most difficult to score. That is when you really score points. Come tomorrow, and you can't imagine how much that is worth in Hashem's scorecard!"

Needless to say, the boy understood the message and was there the next day the first in class!

The Torah tells us not only about the nature of the Yetzer Harah as an adversary, but rather as our ultimate challenger. He stands crouched in the door, ready to block any shot and spring on a near hit. Our job is to realize that we must overcome him when the urge is the greatest. Because when it is most difficult to do the right thing, that is the time we really meet, and even score, the goal!

MODERATOR Posted - 06 December 2000 20:45

That was really good, Q. Thanks. I'll remember that.

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